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Aino Ilkkala's Posts
Aino has posted 9 reports and 389 photos.

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Abkhazia Visit: 1970-7
2007-06-13 - In the summer of 1970 (!) I spent a couple of weeks in Shotsi in Soviet Union. From there I made two day-trips to Abkhazia, one by a hydrofoil to Sukhumi and another by bus to lake Ritsa, which both belonged at that time to Soviet Union. I don't think it is that easy today to cross the border.



Abu Dhabi Visit: -

Aland Islands Visit: -

Albania Visit: -

Anatolia (Turkey in Asia) Visit: -

Andalusia Visit: -

Andorra Visit: -

Anhui Visit: -

Argentina Visit: -

Armenia (other) Visit: -

Australian Capital Territory Visit: -

Austria Visit: -

Azores Visit: -

Balearic Islands Visit: -

Beijing (District) Visit: -

Belgium Visit: -

Belize Visit: -

Berlin Visit: -

Bhutan Visit: -

Botswana Visit: -

Brandenburg Visit: -

Brussels-Capital Region Visit: -

Bryansk Oblast Visit: -

Buenos Aires (City) Visit: -

Bulgaria Visit: -


Busingen Visit: 2007-10
2007-10-28 - We took a train from Zurich to the attractive Swiss town of Schaffhausen, which is famous for its beautiful oriels. Just before you enter Schaffhausen by train, you can see Rhine falls on your right. From Schaffhausen we walked to Busingen along the river Rhine (less than 5 km). Only from the border markers and signs can you notice that you enter Germany. On the German side the river bank is lined with small private camping sites with fire places, tables and chairs.

We only had a walk in the center of the town, saw the two adjacent phone booths (Swiss and German) and the post office with both Swiss and German zip codes. If there were only one given price, it was in CHF, although we were in Germany and euro is the official currency. We had a nice cup of cappuccino in the restaurant of Alte Rheinmuhle hotel before we returned to Schaffhausen by bus.



California Visit: -

Cambodia Visit: -

Campania Visit: -

Campeche Visit: -

Canary Islands Visit: -

Cape Verde Visit: -

Catalonia Visit: -

Chiapas Visit: -

Chile (mainland) Visit: -

Corsica Visit: -

Costa Rica (mainland) Visit: -

Crete Visit: -

Crimea Visit: -


Croatia (other) Visit: 2007-9
2007-09-11 - Plitvice Lake National Park is amazing with its countless cascades and numerous lakes with clear turquoise water. There are two entrances and three different routes you can take. We took the route from the Lower lakes to the Upper lakes, but you can do it vice versa if you don't like hiking uphill. Since 1979 the park has been on UNESCO World Heritage list. The only bigger hotel in the district is Hotel Jezera, which, does not deserve the three stars that it has got.



Cuba Visit: -

Cyclades Visit: -

Czech Republic Visit: -

Delhi (NCT) Visit: -

Denmark Visit: -

Dodecanese Islands Visit: -

Dominican Republic Visit: -

Dubai Visit: -

Egypt (non-Sinai) Visit: -

Emilia-Romagna Visit: -

England Visit: -

Estonia Visit: -

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Visit: -

Finland (mainland) Visit: -

Florida Visit: -

France Visit: -

Friuli-Venezia Giulia Visit: -

Galapagos Islands Visit: -

Gambia Visit: -

Gauteng Visit: -

Germany (other) Visit: -

Gibraltar Visit: -

Goa Visit: -


Greece (other) Visit: 1996-6
2007-06-13 - In June 1995 I stayed at a hotel called Paradise in Samos. There was a note on the hotel room wall saying, 'According to the international manuals it is strictly for bidden to take napkins or any kind of clothing outs ide of the hotel'.

There were not only regulations concerning things that you take out. The text continued, 'According to the international regulations you are not allowed to consume spirits, soft drinks and food that are not bought from the hotel in which you are staying. Please don't bring the goods mentiondes above into our hotel unless they are not from our hotel.'

Would be nice to know if the rules are still there...



Guatemala Visit: -

Haiti Visit: -

Hawaiian Islands (including NW Islands) Visit: -

Hong Kong Visit: -

Hungary Visit: -

Iceland Visit: -

Ionian Islands Visit: -

Ireland, Republic of Visit: -

Israel (other) Visit: -

Italy (mainland) Visit: -

Ivanovo Oblast Visit: -

Jamaica Visit: -

Jiangsu Visit: -

Jordan Visit: -

Kaluga Oblast Visit: -

Kenya Visit: -


Korea, North Visit: 2009-6
2009-06-28 - I visited North Korea in June 2009 with a group of 14 fellow travellers and a tour conductor. We travelled by train from Beijing and returned to Beijing by air. From the border (Dandong), only two of the train cars continued to Pyongyang and several cars coming from Moscow were attached to the train. On the North Korean side (Sinuiju) several Korean cars joined the train. Chinese sleeping compartments were comfortable and the food in the restaurant OK. When going to from the restaurant car we could see how the ordinary Chinese people travel through the night - crowded and mixed smell of smoke, waste food and toilet. Border formalities took about seven hours altogether, but we could leave the train and visit the stations on both sides. The Korean restaurant car was 'cute', decorated with flowers, and the beer - and the French sparkling wine really cheap. Travelling by train offered us a good chance to see the countryside.There were very few Western tourists in Pyongyang, at least partly due to the fact that it was not Arirang season. Maybe the latest happenings also had some effect. We only met a couple of Swiss guys travelling on the same train and very few others. In Koryo hotel where we stayed, only a few floors out of 45 were occupied. It was interesting to see Arirang rehearsals going on on many open squares - masses of young people doing the same thing. In addition to Pyongyang, we visited Myohyang, Kaesong and the Demilitarized Zone.


Korea, South (mainland) Visit: 2009-6
2009-07-17 - I attended an organized tour visiting Busan (China Air flight from Beijing), Gyeongju, Haeinsa Temple and Seoul (China Air flight back to Beijing). Meals in restaurants were included, and what surprised me was that the final preparation of the meals happened at the tables. We either cooked or grilled, mostly with the help from the personnel. This happened every time except once when we dined at a Chinese restaurant in Seoul. Most restaurants are specialized offering only a very limited choice of dishes, but you get always kimchi. It is also common that the locals sit on the floor. We did it only once, since there are usually also tables and chairs available.

Kostroma Oblast Visit: -

Krasnodar Krai Visit: -

Kursk Oblast Visit: -

Latvia Visit: -

Lazio Visit: -

Lebanon Visit: -

Lesser Sunda Islands Visit: -

Liechtenstein Visit: -

Liguria Visit: -

Lithuania Visit: -

Lombardy Visit: -

Luxembourg Visit: -


Macedonia, Republic Visit: 2011-7
2011-08-13 - Skopje has been mentioned as the ugliest capital in the world. It was badly damaged in the earthquake in 1963 and reconstruction work was done during the Yugoslavian communist period in the 1960's and 1970's. The Macedonian government has started a project called 'Skopje 2014'. Enormous construction works are going on the banks of river Vardar, museums, theatres and other public buildings designed in architectural styles of classic antiquity. Around 20 new monuments and statues have been raised in Macedonian Square and neighbourhood. The biggest monument is a fountain with huge Alexander the Great riding a horse. Alexander himself was already there in July 2011, but eight lions and soldiers were still missing. The project will cost 80 to 500 million euros, dependig on whom you ask.

Madeira Visit: -

Malta Visit: -

Marche Visit: -

Market Reef Visit: -

Mendoza Province Visit: -

Mexico D.F. Visit: -

Mexico State Visit: -

Misiones Province Visit: -

Monaco Visit: -

Mongolia Visit: -

Montenegro Visit: -

Morocco Visit: -

Moscow Oblast Visit: -

Myanmar Visit: -

Namibia Visit: -

Netherlands Visit: -

New South Wales Visit: -

Norway (mainland) Visit: -

Novgorod Oblast Visit: -

Oman (other) Visit: -

Oryol Oblast Visit: -

Panama (mainland) Visit: -

Paraguay Visit: -

Parana State Visit: -

Peninsular Malaysia Visit: -

Poland Visit: -

Portugal Visit: -

Pskov Oblast Visit: -

Qinghai Visit: -

Queensland Visit: -

Quintana Roo Visit: -

Rajasthan Visit: -

Republic of Cyprus Visit: -

Republic of Georgia (other) Visit: -

Rio de Janeiro State Visit: -

Romania Visit: -

Russia (other Russia in Europe) Visit: -

Saint Petersburg (City) Visit: -

San Marino Visit: -

Sapmi (Lapland) Visit: -

Sardinia Visit: -

Schaffhausen Visit: -

Scotland Visit: -

Senegal Visit: -

Shaanxi Visit: -

Shanghai (District) Visit: -

Sharjah Visit: -

Sicily Visit: -


Sinai Peninsula Visit: 2009-1
2009-01-13 - My visit to St. Catherine's Monastery on a Monday was almost like a nightmare. Since the monastery is open for tourists only from 9am to noon and it is situated far from most tourist centers, it is obvious that most tourist buses arrive around 11 am. I was on one of these. The place was crowded with people (mostly Russians, I think) pushing to see the sculls and bones and to go through the small gate to the Church of the Transfiguration, which is, besides the icon gallery, the only building that is open to the public. I could hardly see anything of the place, just tried to stay alive and move along with the crowd. I suppose it would be a good idea to visit the monastery just after 9 am.

Singapore Visit: -


Slovakia Visit: 2008-3
2008-03-26 - We flew to Vienna (Austria) and took 'Postbus' from the airport to Bratislava. There is a bus going approximately every hour from 8 am until 10.30 pm. We bought a return ticket but did not realize that reservation for the return trip was needed. We could not take the 4 pm bus we had intended to take, but fortunately seats were available for 5 pm bus and we made it to our flight. It was surprising that also the suitcase needed a ticket, but only on the way back to Vienna. I have not seen anywhere such a complicated ticket system that is in use in public transport in Bratislava. Luckily the city is so small that you hardly need to use buses or trams.

The personnel at the hotel, in tourist information office and most restaurants were very kind indeed, but it was obvious that not everybody in the ticket office and behind the information desk at the railway station or ladies in the post office were aware that the communist era is gone. No smile, just an angry look.



Slovenia Visit: -

Smolensk Oblast Visit: -

Society Islands Visit: -

South Vietnam Visit: -

Spain (Other) Visit: -

St. Gallen Visit: -

Sweden Visit: -

Switzerland Visit: -

Syria Visit: -

Tabasco Visit: -

Tanzania (Mainland) Visit: -

Thailand Visit: -

Tibet Visit: -

Trentino-Alto Adige Visit: -

Tula Oblast Visit: -

Tunisia Visit: -

Turkish Thrace (Turkey in Europe) Visit: -

Tuscany Visit: -

Tver Oblast Visit: -

Ukraine (Other) Visit: -

Uruguay Visit: -

Uttar Pradesh Visit: -

Uzbekistan (other) Visit: -

Valencian Community Visit: -

Vatican City Visit: -

Veneto Visit: -

Vladimir Oblast Visit: -

Wales Visit: -

West Bank Visit: -

Western Cape Visit: -

Yaroslavl Oblast Visit: -

Yucatan Visit: -

Zambia Visit: -

Zanzibar Visit: -

Zhejiang Visit: -

Zimbabwe Visit: -
No reports or photos on:

Abu Dhabi
Aland Islands
Albania
Anatolia (Turkey in Asia)
Andalusia
Andorra
Anhui
Armenia (other)
Australian Capital Territory
Austria
Azores
Baden-Wurttemberg
Balearic Islands
Basel Landschaft
Basel Stadt
Bavaria
Beijing (District)
Belize
Berlin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Botswana
Brandenburg
Brussels-Capital Region
Bryansk Oblast
Buenos Aires (City)
Buenos Aires Province
Bulgaria
Burgundy
California
Cambodia
Campania
Campeche
Canary Islands
Cape Verde
Castile and Leon
Castile-La Mancha
Catalonia
Chiapas
Chile (mainland)
Corsica
Costa Rica (mainland)
Crete
Crimea
Cuba
Cyclades
Czech Republic
Delhi (NCT)
Denmark
District of Columbia
Dodecanese Islands
Dominican Republic
Dubai
Eastern Cape
Ecuador (Mainland)
Egypt (non-Sinai)
Emilia-Romagna
England
Estonia
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Finland (mainland)
Flemish Region
Florida
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Galapagos Islands
Gambia
Gansu
Gauteng
Gibraltar
Glarus
Goa
Guatemala
Haiti
Haryana
Hawaiian Islands (including NW Islands)
Hebei
Hesse
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
Ile-de-France
Ionian Islands
Iran
Ireland, Republic of
Israel (other)
Istria
Ivanovo Oblast
Jamaica
Jiangsu
Jordan
Kaluga Oblast
Karakalpakstan
Karelia Republic
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kostroma Oblast
Krasnodar Krai
Kursk Oblast
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lazio
Lebanon
Leningrad Oblast
Lesser Sunda Islands
Liaoning
Liechtenstein
Liguria
Lithuania
Lombardy
Lower Saxony
Lucerne
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Madeira
Madrid Autonomous Community
Malta
Marche
Market Reef
Maryland
Mendoza Province
Mexico D.F.
Mexico State
Misiones Province
Moldova (other)
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Moscow (City)
Moscow Oblast
Myanmar
Namibia
Netherlands
New Jersey
New South Wales
New York
Nord-Pas-de-Calais
North Vietnam
Northern Ireland
Norway (mainland)
Novgorod Oblast
Oman (other)
Ontario
Oryol Oblast
Panama (mainland)
Paraguay
Parana State
Peninsular Malaysia
Pennsylvania
Peru
Picardy
Piedmont
Poland
Portugal
Provence-Alpes-Cote d\'Azur
Pskov Oblast
Qinghai
Queensland
Quintana Roo
Rajasthan
Republic of Cyprus
Republic of Georgia (other)
Rhone-Alpes
Rio de Janeiro State
Romania
Saint Petersburg (City)
San Marino
Sapmi (Lapland)
Sarawak
Sardinia
Schaffhausen
Schleswig-Holstein
Schwyz
Scotland
Senegal
Shaanxi
Shanghai (District)
Sharjah
Sichuan
Sicily
Singapore
Slovenia
Smolensk Oblast
Society Islands
Solothurn
South Vietnam
Sovereign Base Areas (Cyprus)
St. Gallen
Sweden
Syria
Tabasco
Tanzania (Mainland)
Thailand
Tianjin (District)
Tibet
Ticino
Trans Dniester
Trentino-Alto Adige
Tula Oblast
Tunisia
Turkish Thrace (Turkey in Europe)
Tuscany
Tver Oblast
Ukraine (Other)
Uri
Uruguay
Uttar Pradesh
Uzbekistan (other)
Valencian Community
Vatican City
Veneto
Virginia
Vladimir Oblast
Wales
Walloon Region
West Bank
West Bengal
Western Cape
Yaroslavl Oblast
Yucatan
Zambia
Zanzibar
Zhejiang
Zimbabwe
Zurich